ON SONG: Singer Louise Beagle, left
ON SONG: Singer Louise Beagle, left

DREAM team events co-ordinators in Barney are planning a festival gig in the grounds of castle for when lockdown restrictions finally come to an end.

During the Covid-19 crisis, musicians and singers have found an online home where they can perform to their hearts content thanks to a Facebook group started by former Barnard Castle resident Louise Beagle.

Barney Musicians Share has attracted thousands of members and has seen hundreds of streamed performances. Now she has teamed up Barnard Castle resident Tom Howe, who has also been entertaining the community with online radio broadcasts and a number of bingo evenings as well as helping organise the virtual online Meet celebrations, to form a new business, DreamTeam Events. 

Together the pair hope to be able to continue organising events and entertainment once life returns to normal – but say it has been difficult not being face to face to sort out logistics.

Ms Beagle said: “It has been great and amazing to see so many people coming together, virtually, to perform. We want to keep that feeling going for the future. “We’ve had musicians get-ting in touch saying it is the best feeling and normally they would be vying for work, but the support everyone has been getting is great and we want to keep that feeling going for the future.

“Over the Meet weekend we had the biggest number of performers ever with 37 in total. There were ten musicians on Saturday, 16 on the Sunday and another 11 on the Monday, which is great." Mr Howe added more than 7,000 people tuned in to listen to the live streamed Meet during the course of the three days.

He said: “We had people tuning in from all over the world because of the great musicians and singers, not because of the political what-not in the news. “There were lots of people in Teesdale tuned in, but there were also viewers from South Africa, America and Germany." Now working together, they have set up Friday and Saturday night streaming sessions which will feature a range of local musicians playing all different genres of music.

Ms Beagle added: “We’re also hoping to get a few groups involved because of the easing of lockdown. “My boyfriend's band, The Anarchists, are going to do a set from a field.

"They’ll all be socially distanced, but that’s one of the things we’ve seen – drummers who’ve been hastily trying to learn how to play a guitar so they can be involved. Now you can meet up to six people in a garden, we hope it will enable some groups to get involved and perform as well. “The thing is people have come forward and performed. Some had never even done anything at all, not even in front of their family and it’s just great that the group has inspired and encouraged people.”

Mr Howe said the live stream sessions will provide a platform for members to per-form until such time pubs, clubs and venues are able to safely reopen. The first live stream sets took place at the weekend (Friday, June 5, and Saturday, June 6) and featured two completely different performers. Richard Ellis Hawley, from Evenwood, took the Friday night slot and Adam Peart, from Bishop Auckland, the Saturday evening slot. Tom added: “We’ll be promoting who’s performing each week as part of the sessions but we’re also planning something fantastic for when the lockdown is over.

“We’ve been in talks and have to speak more with English Heritage about putting together a gig with all the musicians in the castle grounds as a big thank you.” Barney Musicians Share can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/530272061212682/.